“Failure Pile in a Sadness Bowl”: Dante as Inspiration for Creative Writers

FailurePile“If you ever feel bad about your own writing, just remember that one of the world’s most well-known works of classic literature is self-insert fanfiction where the author hangs out with his favorite poet and is guided on his journey of discovery by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl version of a woman he met twice.”    —“Failure pile in a sadness bowl,” Mister-Smalls, Tumblr, February 2014

Contributed By Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

“Kindred Spirits: A Juxtaposition of Dante & Dickens”

dante-and-scrooge“. . . I cannot recall a time when I didn’t know the story of A Christmas Carol. The images and themes have delighted or haunted me since my childhood, either in the form of the ‘Dickens Village’ adventure at the mall or the hundredth or so viewing of the Muppet version. (Michael Caine, you will always be my Scrooge.) So when I studied Dante’s Commedia in college, it was no leap for me to recognize the countless similarities between the two stories. I would write C.C. in the margin every time I came across another bit of Dickens in Dante. At long last, I can pitch some these ideas to the wider world.”     –Kathyrn (blogger), Through a Glass Brightly, December 18, 2013

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

10th Circle: Sycophants on Social Media

“If Dante would be alive today and visited India, he would have added a tenth circle of Inferno (hell) in his famous poem, Divine Comedy, and assigned it to Sycophancy on the Social Web. He wouldn’t have to resort to allegory, it is all over Facebook, Twitter and comment boxes on blogs, for everyone to see…
“Sycophancy is defined as the overly fawning behaviour of a suck-up. A sycophant is a person who attempts to win favour at the cost of his own pride, principles, and peer respect…
“Dante would have been certainly shocked by the new fad of thoughtless hero worship in India’s IT hubs, universities and urban hang outs where the youth of the country are subjected to and fall victim for modern propaganda. Dante would have been surprised at the idiots, despite having a degree or two can’t apply the least bit of logic or discerning to what they are told by the media, politicians and the rest of the carpet baggers.” — cited from Sreedhar Pillai on Lasting Rose, July 16, 2013

Nine Circles of Employee Engagement Hell

“If you have spent any time traveling in the HR landscape, chances are at some point or another you’ve found yourself in what I would call ‘Employee Engagement Hell.’ With a nod to Dante, I thought it might be fun to map the challenges to engagement a la the 14th century epic poem Divine Comedy… In Dante’s famous Inferno, the poet is led through the nine levels of the underworld by the Roman poet Virgil. The journey through each level (or circle) represents an allegorical journey of the human soul. My interpretation may be somewhat less allegorical—and definitely less epic!—but I do hope to offer some Virgil-like advice as to how to escape from each very real level of disengagement.” — Darcy Jacobsen, Globoforce, August 13, 2013

Read the full article here.

“Guide to the Literary Inferno”

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Read the full Guide to the Literary Inferno by AlexisRoyce.

Contributed by Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

Mark Lilla, “Filippic” (2011)

A poem for the Brooklyn Book Festival

The F train
Is the brain train.
iPad lasciate,
Voi ch’intrate,

Eve’s backlit apple,
Gold ‘n delicious,
Tempts us not.
We have spines to break,
Penguins to tame.
Thou user!
Thou blue of tooth!
Thou faceless face,
That hath no book!
@ us, towns talk & captions contest
While black-rimmed dandies
Wink at the straphangers
Who grin at the infinite jest.
But banished shalt thou be
Back into space,
No means of return,
No options, commands, or escape,
While we, the Brooklyn d’&eacutelite,
Knuckles bared, planted feet,
Bend dead trees at will
And inspect our kill.
Recycle that, battery boy.
I got your charger right here.

— Mark Lilla, The New York Review of Books, September 16, 2011

“Three Lost Cantos From Dante’s Inferno”

three-lost-cantos-from-dantes-inferno “XXXV: Cell-Phone Users
The users of cell-phones in quiet places
Have merited scorn from all classes and races.
They talk to their pals with cocky assurance
While you bury your head in your book with endurance.
The gestures they make are of course unavailing
It looks like unseen taxis that they are hailing.
Their punishment, as each millennium passes,
Is to be drowned out forever by the braying of asses.”

“XXXVI: ‘Reply-to-All’-ers
We came to the furthest reach of hell-
A place that email users know well.
The woman or man whose unmitigated gall
Causes him or her to hit “Reply all”.
I don’t mean to work myself into a snith
But they ought to know better-it clogs server bandwidth.
For these folks a punishment fit for their crimes-
They’re surrounded and hounded by fast-talking mimes.”

“XXXVII: Credit Card Coffee Buyers
The lousy cup is called a “tall”–
the cost of it is rather small.
Those who chose to charge the price
In this ring are treated not-so-nice.
If plastic was the tender you used to pay
While the time of those in line wasted away
You will for eternity be burnt like toast
With free trade coffee, decaf dark roast.”    –Con Chapman

Available to read on Fictionaut.com (posted July, 2010).

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

“This All Seems Way Over My Head…”


Contributed by Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

How the Internet Works


Contributed by Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

A Blog Called “Dante’s Inferno”


See blog at DanteNet